Nov 21, 2013

Robox 3d printer

Great design, lot of marketing hype and some interesting features.

Key features from Kickstarter page:

Frame and Case Design - The quality of printing is predominantly dependent on the resolution and accuracy of the motion axes. The printer must be capable of composing accurate layers of plastic material layer after layer to produce a usable part. We have designed Robox® from scratch, ensuring the frame and motion systems are extremely rigid and accurately positioned. All motors and axes are attached to a single stainless steel frame which is a reference surface for all motion; this is rigidly attached to injection moulded parts which form the body of the printer to create a super-stable platform.

We wanted all our cutting-edge innovation to have a suitably high quality sleek exterior finish. We’ve used high quality materials including anodised aluminium and clear polycarbonate to give the printer a clean stylish look that would be at home on any desk. Our industrial design aim was to hide all the technology required for movement and printing but still exhibit the magical process of 3D printing to the user. We think Robox® is beautiful, with clear views of what’s being manufactured from over half the surfaces. The filament reel and power supply have been integrated into the product, so we have no messy external parts to clutter your desk and take up more space.

A fully self contained unit with a small desktop footprint.
Speed - Dual Nozzle System - Robox® includes a proprietary dual-nozzle system which can improve print speeds by up to 300% when set against our competitors. A single material feed can be directed out of one of two nozzles – with a 0.3mm or 0.8mm extrusion diameter. This means Robox® can produce highly detailed exterior surfaces for the surfaces you can see, and then quickly fill the object using the larger nozzle multiple layers at a time without affecting part strength or detail. This combined with a needle-valve system stops ‘ooze’ and ‘stringing’ from the nozzles - a problem commonly found in other printers. So now you can finally have the best of both worlds – a perfect high quality exterior finish with much faster print times!

300% increase in print speed thanks to the Robox® Dual Nozzle Print Head
Automatic Material Recognition - Robox® requires no programming for different materials – just load the reel and go! Each reel contains a chip which stores all the necessary parameters for the material which have been thoroughly tested, so as soon as you install the reel, the printer is automatically programmed and ready to print.

SmartReel™ - Each reel of filament has an EEPROM which contains material data to allow Robox® to automatically set print parameters.
Quick-Change Print-head - Our HeadLock™ System allows you to change the function of Robox® quickly and easily. From the outset of this project we've made the product easily upgradeable, so the head contains a universal interface that will work with all future upgrades to the Robox® platform, including a 2 material head, stylus cutter, milling head and 3D scanner, the possibilities are endless!

Swap the head and turn this micro manufacturing platform into a different machine altogether
Replaceable, 'Tape-less' and Removable PEI Bed - Once your print has finished you are free to remove your model from the printer. The print surface itself is also easily removable - allowing for easy replacement or dismounting of models away from the printer, or for switching to alternative beds e.g. a stylus cutting mat, milling fixture system or turntable for the 3D scanning head. To ensure that your bed is always perfectly flat for 3D printing when Robox® is configured as an FFF system, the print surface is constructed from PEI laminate material, which requires no tape, glues or special preparation. Prints stick fast while printing, and then release themselves once complete.

Heated Bed with Removable Print Surface - Certain models and materials benefit from different print surfaces. The small cutout section on the front right of the bed allows easy removal.
Enclosed Build Chamber - Robox® has the option of a fully-enclosed build envelope for stabilising the printing environment, improving results and making it safer. When a printed part cools (particularly when made from ABS) unevenly or too rapidly, it shrinks unevenly, causing warp cracks and de-lamination. Our enclosure serves several purposes; prevents outside thermal influences affecting your print by blocking draughts and keeping the internal temperature stable, and shields users from surfaces that are too hot to touch.

Test print: ABS 78x10x5mm - Draft quality -This test print using ABS in our closed build chamber shows no shrinkage or warping even when the bed and part have cooled.
Expandable for 2 Extruders - Robox® is ready for a second extruder; so coupled with a dual material head (currently in development), you will be able to print two different materials at the same time – whether this is just two colours of the same material, or a build material and separate support material.

AutoMaker™ Proprietary Software - Rather than bundle Robox® with the usual selection of Open Source software, we’ve decided to develop our own so we can take advantage of the many innovative hardware features already designed into our Robox® platform. This further enhances the simplicity and usability of the printer for both experts and novices alike. This has been designed from scratch so the consumer can become the manufacturer from day one, we want everyone to be able to create their world.
Automaker™ Beta 2.0 - A clear and simple status page
Simplicity with Depth - Ease-of-use is at the heart of the design of Robox®, but for those of you more experimentally inclined – don’t fear! We have divided the software into simple and advanced modes, so for those of you who don’t want to ‘tweak’, just place your parts and print. Advanced mode will allow more experienced users to alter all parameters of the printer manually. Once you are happy with a print profile you can save it for future use - repeatable high quality printing, another goal of the Robox® project.